Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

We discussed certain levels of spiritual relationship between human beings and the Supreme Lord. And we identified a scale which helps us to understand not the importance, but the gradation of these different attitudes. First we understood that there should be some stability of consciousness. Then we understood that a more active expression of the commitment to God should be revealed. So, the first level is like a neutral or passive recognition of His existence, while the second is when we send some feedback. He gives life and I give my life. Then the servitude; if it strengthens and becomes more profound, it turns to be a kind of friendship – a more total love. And from this passive, this subordinate servitude on the scale we achieved the platform of neutral equal relationship. And we had a hint that sometimes the senior friends who are a little older than Krishna in Vrindavana feel like well-wishers or take care – they start to feel like superiors. Actually in this manner we come to the next stage of the mystery of relationships, when we discuss the family relationships to the Supreme – it’s called vatsalya-rasa.

First we have to start with the importance of family. Of course family relationship is very important for us. Practically everyone of you live in families or come from families. Even the ascetics – they are not carried by the storks. They come from families, right? Therefore family is considered an ashram – a place of spiritual practice, a stage of life of spiritual practice. So this is not only a financial relationship of two persons or joint sympathy of the bodies, but there’s something more – this is a spiritual relationship. Therefore family is a very important way to express our human-, and to help to develop our divine attitudes.

The importance of the family is very much stressed in the very beginning of the Gita also. Until the family traditions are maintained nicely, all the different other layers of the society are very harmonious. But when the family tradition is broken, then so many new unknown, unwanted and not so harmonious generations will start to come and then disaster is expected.

What is your opinion, what is the point in family life?

Answers: To maintain spirituality. Union for spiritual growth. The caring attitude. Stability. Chance for service. Safety.

Swami Tirtha: Very nice. And a little more romantic? Fulfilling of our dreams? Come on, this is also a part of the hopes, at least. But you know, I feel that family is very good to develop some very strong qualities. Some qualities that you definitely have to develop when you are in a married relationship are: humility and tolerance; and also responsibility. Because if you enter, you cannot jump out. That is responsibility. In order to maintain a relationship for a long-long time, practically for a lifetime, it’s not that you have to tolerate your partner, but he or she has to tolerate you. So without tolerance it will not happen. Also this humility – because definitely we shall meet certain situations where there is no other solution than to say: “All right, sorry, I made a mistake, this is my fault.” Therefore if we accept that we can develop very good qualities, plus we want to develop spiritually, then whether we are successful, or our family relationship is a failure, this is beneficial in both cases. Because if you are successful, then you can develop all the good qualities. If this is a failure, you can understand that ‘This is not my path’. Then you can develop other good qualities like renunciation, freedom, independence, commitment to God. So in both ways it’s good. Either you go pravritti – the positive, successful path, or you go nivritti and then you see: ‘Sorry, it doesn’t work’, then you go further.

Also family is a place of controlling one bodily function – sexuality. In the beginning of life human beings are usually intact, not affected by sexual impetus – not so much at least. Later on, in certain stages of life, when you are twenty, you just cannot imagine life without romance when this power starts to manifest in life. Therefore this biological maturity comes in the later phases of puberty, but the social maturity comes a little later – when you are not only capable, but you are also responsible. And especially for the men, the formulation of the character – as a male figure, as a real morally established person – comes in the late twenties.

Family is a very good invention, so to say, of the social structure. Because due to certain biological factors, this multiplication in case of the human beings is quite complicated. It’s easy to make a child, but it’s very difficult to keep it, to raise the kids. You know, some of the other species in the animal kingdom also are very faithful to each other. And it is suggested for the human beings to be faithful to each other, because in this way you can protect your kids more nicely, you can provide them security. Finding a life partner is not only controlling your sexual urge, but also to maintain the mystery of life in the form of your children and to take care of them. So it depends on the quality of our different aspects of life – what we perceive.

(to be continued)

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